Monday, June 13, 2011

The Patriot

Saturday morning the first visit I paid was to a man dying of a nasty infection. It wasn't until I saw his feet that I realized that he wasn't in his eighties but closer to 30 years of age. I confirmed this with his nurse. I have to admit, that was a bit unnerving.

I saw several more people that morning and then realized it was already past time to head for home. But instead of heading for the exit, I was drawn back down the hall. I came to a dark room and saw someone in the far bed. He didn't move as I approached but just stared at me. I greeted the man but he didn't speak, he just nodded. His face never changed expression and he never took his eyes off of me.

As I made small talk with James, I noticed that he was vey underweight for a tall man. I saw the case of canned liquid on his table and knew that he was on a feeding tube.

James didn't say much, he just listened and watched. He seemed almost unreachable. He was honest in his responses to me. When I asked him which destination would be his, Heaven or Hell, he said, "I'll take Hell".

"James, you know I don't know you but I sure don't want you to go to Hell!". I took time to describe Hell for him.  I went on to tell him what Jesus did for him so that he would not have to go there.  He listened without reacting.

"Does this make sense James?" I questioned.

"Yes." he stated.

"What stops you, James?"

He stared at me and made a simple statement. "Vietnam Nam."

I waited for him to elaborate.

"I was shot down. Been in the hospital for 15 years." he said it sadly.

I prayed that God would give me the words that would minister to him. "Thank you for going to Vietnam Nam. Because you went I am free today. Because you made this great sacrifice, our country is free today. Thank you, James. You went and did that and you didn't even know me!" For the first time I saw light in his eyes.

"James how would it make you feel if someone walked in here and burned a flag?". His gaze intensified and I could tell it upset him. "Would that make you mad? Would it offend you?". He nodded his head to the affirmative. I paused a moment before asking him, "do you think Jesus feels that way when we shrug at all He's done to set us free?"

He changed his gaze and looked out the window. "James if you had been happy and healthy and I stopped you on the street today to talk to you about this, would you have talked to me?"

Without hesitation he said, "No."

"Thanks for talking to me today, James."

"I'm moving to Atlanta tomorrow." (whoa)

"You know, James I was on my way out today when something told me to come down here into your room. I believe that was God. Now none of us are promised tomorrow James, but for some reason He sent me here today. I am going to be praying for you and I do hope you'll give this matter some more thought."

Please pray for James and the thousands of other Vets who need to hear about Jesus.

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